Cost Management Group’s New Digital Presence

The Gartner Market Guide for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) Services in May 2017 reported a 45% increase in end-user enterprise enquiries concerning TEM since 2016. With IT costs rising, organizations need to more closely monitor and control the cost of technology. The report stated, “The continued growth and evolution of enterprise telecom services prompts many companies to evaluate TEM services for ongoing cost optimization and efficiencies, especially if they lack the internal resources to effectively optimize or have limited governance on telecom and IT procurement over a complex enterprise footprint.”

Being able to effectively scale solutions with the right balance of strength and agility, for enterprise-level organizations, mid-size businesses, and SMBs, is nothing new to Cost Management Group (CMG). Headquartered in Atlanta, GA since 1996, with additional offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Costa Rica and the Netherlands, CMG specializes in driving down the operating costs of its client companies by applying proprietary methods and tools, or those of its carefully chosen partners who possess a particular and uncommon expertise. CMG, as a leader in the industry, is committed to its vision, believes in its mission, and is driven by a set of core values.

When searching for a partner to assist in telling the CMG story, it was important to find an organization that shared a common set of core values and focus on quality, extraordinary attention to service and innovative solutions. Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) worked with the team at CMG to redesign its online experience that includes a wealth of content to engage prospective clients and partners.

Julie Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction, says, “As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of design trends whether it is a website or a comprehensive set of solutions to support sales and marketing. We are proud to expand on our creative portfolio by working with an organization like CMG.”

What Does It Take to Build a Successful SaaS Business?

According to Gartner, Inc. the worldwide cloud services market will total more than $246.8 billion by the end of 2017, an impressive 18 percent growth over the previous year. Software as a service (SaaS) is defined as a subscription software licensing delivery model which is centrally hosted and accessed in the virtual cloud by subscribers over a web browser.  SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business operations applications that were once purchased and maintained by an organizations internal IT department. Today, SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of nearly all leading enterprise software companies and has a significant profit potential for cloud providers. For software consumers, SaaS may offer a high value alternative to infrastructure systems. The growth in the SaaS business model has new providers eager to enter the marketplace.

Before entering the market eager entrants need to be aware of some of the challenges to successfully launching a SaaS portfolio including sales techniques, financial issues, technical considerations, cyber security and customer expectations. And while SaaS can benefit enterprise users by freeing up resources currently dedicated to in house IT systems, the transition to the cloud may cause serious integration issues. Just like all new ventures success often depends more on the preparation phase rather than the launch. Formulating the right idea to fill a real need is critical. Whether starting anew, forming a “White Label Partnership”, joining in an existing franchise or investing in an up and coming SaaS organization attracting the right technical talent and qualified management partners is critical.

For even the best prepared and most talented managers, starting a new SaaS business is no easy endeavor. As with any new business, personal intuition and great plans may look good on paper but more often than not can be out of sync with what the customer has in mind. Keeping the initial offerings targeted to providing simple solutions and unencumbered with unnecessary bells and whistles will enable new clients to understand the benefits of the service and implement the transition successfully. Focusing on serving initial customers with exceptional service will build a foundation for future success and growth.

“We are working with many SaaS businesses that are not just launching software but developing a sustainable business model,” comments Julie Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “Our main focus with these companies is to clearly define how the software can be monetized by focusing a one-to-many approach.  For many in the industry, building the platform is top priority and making money is a secondary focus.  Our approach with clients has proven to be successful and it’s exciting to watch these companies gain market share in competitive industries.”

For more information on what it takes to build a successful SaaS business model, click.

Atop the List of the Most Monumental Failures

The event wasn’t really anything new. Like the occurrence of hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wild fires and other major natural calamities, data breaches come around from time to time almost as naturally and expected as Mother Nature’s furious punishments.  Differentiated from one another by a numeric sliding scale that measure their severity and the totality of their mayhem on the populace, natural disasters are recognized as unavoidable as they routinely play havoc on populations all around the world.

Data breaches, while unfortunately common in today’s data driven world of commerce and social interaction, can be defended against by pre-breach, cybersecurity deployments that may lessen their impact or result in their total avoidance. Breaches of consumer’s private information are not yet measured by a numeric scale of severity, but the latest data breach at Equifax just may have raised the upper limits of the damage impact bar.

The recent Equifax incident resulted in the privacy of 143 million customers being violated, but the total impact may be much larger and may initiate additional unintended disclosures of financial information by hackers for some time to come. The domino effect may continue for years given that the most noted information stolen was customer’s social security identification numbers. With this one number, bad actors are capable of unlocking and laying bare all there is to know of an individual’s identity. Unlike credit card information, Social Security numbers are for life.

Surprisingly this was the third time Equifax had been hacked this year. To not learn from the previous experiences and enact additional safe guards to avoid additional breaches is a failure of leadership and culture as much as a failure of network security. “Equifax sits on the crown jewels of what we consider personally identifying information,” says Jason Glassberg, cofounder of the corporate security and penetration testing firm Casaba Security. “You’d think a company like that, guarding what they’re guarding, would have a heightened sense of awareness and that clearly was not the case.” Equifax has provided a website where customers can find out if they are impacted by the breach but has no intention on notifying consumers if they are impacted. The company will provide affected consumers with the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier for a period of one year.

With more than 2,200 data breaches occurring so far this year alone, companies need to step-up their preparations for responding to an inevitable breach.  To effectively secure personal information and networks, company leaders need to understand that that privacy and security are coequals. Applying concepts of basic cyber hygiene and realizing that cyber security is an integral part of the company’s overall operations is essential.

Prior to retiring, Richard Smith, CEO of Equifax said, “Equifax will not be defined by this incident, but rather, how we respond.” The comment was seen as wishful thinking at best. Equifax will most assuredly be defined by this breach and the disparate response to it for decades to come. Being at the top of the most memorable list is not a good or profitable place to be when it is the list of the most monumental failures. After two decades and millions of dollars spent on cybersecurity the saga of failure and the effects on consumer’s privacy is bound to continue. Maintaining the status quo is clearly not an option.

Are you prepared for your next cybersecurity failure?

Award Winning Strategic Agency Committed to Creating High Impact Solutions

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), a hybrid between a traditional consulting firm and a creative agency, is often labeled as just a “creative shop” or a “marketing agency.”  Junction was founded on the premise that there is a fundamental juncture between strategy and the execution whether in operations, sales, marketing, technology.  Assisting clients in meeting growth goals is a core competency at Junction.

“Providing strategic leadership to companies wanting to grow their business is our primary focus. Many of our clients are looking to build their performance to support a divestiture or increase revenue.  Our team of experience strategists and execution team remain focused on achieving our clients’ goals and objectives.”

Traditionally, firms focus on strategy or execution, rarely both.  “Because we offer both strategy and execution, we can qualify and quantify our results.  It’s a challenge to meet and exceed expectations but certainly a challenge that we are familiar with,” says Gareleck. Junction reports a significant growth in its portfolio of strategy clients.

In 8 years, Junction has worked with more than 225 brands, 100 of which are in the Fortune 1000, across industry vertical.  Armed with knowledge and data, Junction affirms that 2018-2019 will mark a period of reinvestment in strategy as economics and politics affect the business climate.  “As we work with clients on managing growth and implementing growth strategies, we also see others primarily focused on the execution.  I remember seeing these trends in 2008 so it’s critical to be prepared for any potential changes that stall or stop growth,” Gareleck comments.

For more information on how Junction can provide impact for your business, contact us at info@junction-creative.com or visit the website.

Did Trends Become Reality in 2017?

Just as the green leaves of summer begin to turn color and fall from the trees, predictors of the coming year’s trends offer their insights as to how the most successful, leading companies will achieve their sales objectives in the months ahead.  Last year, Forbes cited important trends in business for 2017.   As we quickly approach the end of 2017, we wanted to see how those trend predictions materialized this year.

Reality: Subject Matter Experts Become the New Rainmakers

Once upon a time there were three sales approaches. The order taker, who called to fill a customer’s needs, the pitchman who focused efforts on remunerating product or service features and benefits to bag and ring-up the sale and the consultative sales person, the subject matter expert (SME), who approached the sale by utilizing advanced business experience and knowledge to close a deal.  Today executive B2B leadership is looking for folks that can provide experience and valuable insights to move their businesses forward.  While the days of sales representatives calling on the C-Level to get a meeting still has its venues, the future of sales lies with the SME Rainmakers.

In Process: Crowdfunding Validates New Products

The prediction that crowdfunding would replace venture capitalist (VC) in 2017, while gaining on more traditional sources of financing, appears to be encountering the learning curve.  Indiegogo CEO, David Mandelbrot says, “We’ve very focused on educating both entrepreneurs and backers of those campaigns. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s also very new.”  Early analysis of crowd funding indicates a growing popularity among real estate investors and those entrepreneurs seeking to secure asset-backed loans from accredited investors and for supplementary capital for ventures that have been successful in raising funds from traditional VCs.  While crowdfunding has become popular with start-up entrepreneurs, it doesn’t necessarily validate the success of a new product.

Reality: Sales & Content Marketing Fully Integrated

“More than just a buzzword, content marketing has become one of the most powerful tools for attracting targeted customers, building loyalty, and driving profitability,” says Veronica Stoddart, the principal of VS Content Strategies. “If done right and properly integrated within a brand, content marketing will benefit a cross-section of departments, including marketing, sales, public relations, and even customer relations.” The predictor’s crystal ball clearly scored on this one.   The emergence of this digital economy, content has become a clear driver in the sales process.

Reality: Video Becomes Essential 

The combined top three social media networks, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube are producing 22 billion video views every day. Marketers can no longer ignore video. Video is becoming the method in which to distribute content that will resonate with a broad base of audiences.

In Process: New Collaboration Rethinking Email

Despite all the new emerging digital marketing tools, email remains a persistent survivor. While popular tools like Slack are becoming more common in the workplace, email remains to be an important communication tool.

Reality: Brick and Mortar Loses Retail Stores

We have experienced major retailers closing stores and retooling location strategy in response to consumers’ increase use of online sellers.  Those retail companies that understand the importance of customer experience will continue to excel. Brick and mortar retailers must find ways to be relevant to its customers and continue to evolve the in-store experience.

Reality: Subject Matter Experts Get Sales Support

With the push for content, thought leadership, and marketing tools, organizations are embracing a new way to structure sales and marketing departments. Silos have existed between the two.  In today’s fast-paced digital environment, integration is critical.  Subject matter experts bring knowledge and expertise that can inform sales opportunities.

In Process: Narrow Segments Capture Attention

Understanding your customer segment is critical in communicating a marketing/sales message. However, spreading the message too thin isn’t being effective. “It’s less about narrowing the focus of segments but rather focusing on those segments that are actively making purchase decisions.  The overall effectiveness of this strategy will improve, says Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO Junction Creative Solutions.” 

In Process: Recurring Revenue

Companies will continue to shift from single, up-front payments for products to recurring revenue for a service.  In B2B and B2C, the goal is to engage a customer on a regular basis, with an ongoing need for goods or services.

Gareleck comments, “This is always going to be a conversation about value.  I don’t see the entire marketplace moving to retainer relationships as a portion of businesses are still looking for the cheapest option available or the most cost effective.”

In Process: Millennials Groomed for Leadership

Ian Altman, a B2B Integrity-based sales and growth expert predicted, “Just like past generations, millennials will emerge as the next set of managers and executives. Top performing companies will work to magnify their strengths and build systems to compensate for their perceived deficiencies.”

Organizations often lack the middle-management layer that trained young leadership to rise and grow within the organization. While Millennials are going to become 50% of the work-force in the next few years, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are prepared for leadership roles.

It’s clear that there is accuracy with trends and predictions.  Some of these areas are evolving while others have reached mass adoption. It will be interested to see what forecasters predict for 2018!

Advice to Entrepreneurs: Spend Every Penny Like It’s Your Last

All new businesses share one common element regardless of the type or size of the endeavor; funding. Acquiring the necessary capital to get the shelves stocked, the doors open, and enough sales to get the cash flowing, remains the most difficult aspect of start-ups and the number one reason small businesses and startups fail. Most new business ventures take 12 to 18 months to generate enough cash flow to become financially self-reliant. While most new businesses rely on the entrepreneurs’ ability to pony up personal cash and assets, outside sources for capital are usually required. Traditional lender, investor and credit outlets are a staple of enterprise funding, but technology has made it much easier and cheaper to start a new business.

Crowd funding, the online availability of capital for emerging businesses, has become the go to location for those looking to fast-track the launch of the business. Trends in the startup and early-stage investor ecosystem continue to grow and are on track to become a major source of new business funding. The source and availability of new capital is not the only important aspect of financial challenges facing a new venture. Managing expenditures and unnecessary spending often is the major reason behind early stage failures.  Careful spending is important in any business. Music entrepreneur and guitar legend Zakk Wyldein says, “You have to pay attention, like with tours and expenses; you have to factor that all in. You want to play music for the rest of your life, you have to pay attention to all the things.”

Dedicating the bulk of spending for things that focus on attracting customers is the best capital spend to generate value and the next generation of funding; revenue. “I challenge you to achieve what you are doing with less capital,” says Mike Schroll, founder of Startup.SC.  Often a successful launch results in a euphoric mentality for those inexperienced and unaware that the most challenging time comes after the excitement of the start wears off.

Like a horse race, every entrant enters the gates with enthusiasm and confidence of a winning run, only to be tempered by the competition and the potential, ever present stumbles encountered along the way. It’s a long race, spending the winnings before you cross the finish line will result in your horse falling back in the pack and ultimately being left out of the race.

A large percentage of companies are squandering the easy cash, utilizing it in bad faith and spending it like it’s their own. Easy money comes with increased responsibility and a need for additional layers of accountability to ensure that investor capital is not squandered.

“I’ve been in or around the emerging business market for nearly 20 years and I have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to funding,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “I often see smart entrepreneurs with a solid business or technology waste money on salaries and expensive business trips.  In the companies that we have consulted with, we have realized more success with those entrepreneurs who have boot-strapped the business and put their own money on the line.  There is something to be said about using your own money. It’s more difficult but there is typically less wasteful spending. My advice to those start-ups who have been successfully raising money is to treat every penny as though it was your last.  Spend the investment on monetizing the business first.”

The dark side of attracting investment is the reality that missed expectations can lead to unrest with investors. In some cases, investors can exercise their right to take ownership of your business or technology.  “If you’ve committed to investors, you have to deliver. No excuses,” comments Gareleck.  “Mistakes and missteps are a given in business.  Be responsible and take accountability for every dollar. After all, it’s their money.”

While not every entrepreneur can boot-strap the business, entrepreneurs must educate themselves on how to properly manage the investment dollars in the beginning.  It will serve as the benchmark for the future and viability of the business long-term.

Share your investment story with our network!

Is It Getting Too Complicated with Four Generations Comingling at the Water Cooler?

In the most recent years, marketers and employers have been attempting a multitude of strategies to figure out who Millennials really are and what their expectations about life, job and product are. For those who are still struggling to understand Millennials, and the most effective means to connect with them, Generation Z has reached the workforce.

While some marketers can at least claim a little success in cracking the millennial code, others have just given up and returned to re-focus on what worked to attract consumers in the past. Employers who have tried everything from ping pong tables, paid-time off for advocating for social justice issues and work from home models in order to attract, inspire and retain effective millennial employees are still evaluating the totality of their experiences. Are we now supposed to scrap everything and retool corporate strategies for the new generation?

Generation Z consists of those born in 1996 or later. They make up 25.9% of the United States population and are expected to contribute $44 billion to the American economy. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the U.S. population. The most tech savvy and information consuming generation in history, Generation “Z’ers” tend to be less focused on a single thought but are demonstrating an amazing ability to multitask and a lack of patience with a single subject; bad news for War and Peace sized novel writers and good news for publishers of an abbreviated Readers Digest.

This generation has grown up accustomed to the fast paced development of technology. They are perpetual in their use of smart, digital devices and spend less time watching TV than their forbearers. “We are the first true digital natives,” said Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone. Generation Z takes in information instantaneously, and loses interest just as fast.”  As result, marketers are experiencing a massive shift in advertising methods and content messaging in order to successfully connect with generation Z’s shifting values. “When it doesn’t get there that fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”

Gen Z-ers have digitally honed social insights but are more socially diverse and conscious. They are more likely to appreciate the face to face relationships than their predecessors. Wanting to do great work for an employer, they are predicted to be willing to invest years in a job that propels them forward to achieving their personal self-development. Many are shunning traditional routes to higher education opting instead for online education while they practice making a living.  According to Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Generation Z desires more independent work environments with nearly 75% of Gen Z teens espousing an ultimate goal to start their own business. “Kids are witnessing start-up companies make it big instantly via social media,” said Andrew Schoonover, a 15-year-old in Olathe, Kan. “We do not want to work at a local fast-food joint for a summer job. We want to make our own business because we see the lucky few who make it big.”

But with all the hype and predictions of generational differences is the next mega market group really all that different from their parents and grandparents?

When developing a strategy to segment any market we must realize that no one generation does a market segment make. Each generation, while differing in the methods of making connections, will invent many new insights and social behaviors but also retain important aspects of connectivity from their predecessors. Generation X, Millennials, Z’ers and Baby Boomers are all occupying the same marketplace and sharing the same water cooler conversations at work.  It will require marketers and employers to maintain due vigilance as each generation continues to morph into the multitude of individuals they want to become.  How are you adapting your organization to accommodate 4 generations?

A Well-Developed Strategy Considers The Importance of Each Line of Achievement

At first contemplation it appears to be very simple in design and construction. A mark or stroke that is longer in proportion in its length than its width. Usually generated by hand or machine and applied to a surface it can be thin or wide. Used in a group of more than one it is most commonly used to designate a position or to connect a number of continuous points or denote a measurement of progression.

We are taught from the earliest of our years that in their most efficient form a straight one represents the shortest distance between two points and that we are at our best when we color or behave within the confines of more than one of them. Lines can be identified as going up or down, coming before or after, be in, out, over or under depending upon the context of their environment or purpose. Crossing one can be a good or not so good thing. Stepping up to one is often considered courageous or responsible. Being over one may elicit the wrath of others. Having a flat one whether for health of heart or profit indicates a need for serious concern.

Whether on the field of sport or commerce, a series of these simply constructed lines mark the points of progress towards achieving an ultimate goal. Business managers, coaches and players are sharply focused on the ultimate line of importance, the goal, for it is here that points are awarded and achievement posted for all to see. A well-developed strategy considers the importance of each achievement beginning at the starting line and continuing throughout the journey to the finish line.

At Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), we understand the importance of attaining each of these simply constructed marks on a plane of measurement. We are experienced in customizing strategy engagements across business, sales, and marketing to achieve a comprehensive plan of growth and achievement, without losing sight of the finish line.

“While 100 yards on a football field might seem just series of lines or markers to reach the end zone, every good team knows how important the playbook is.  We push our clients to develop their playbook, detailed strategies designed to reach their business goals and objectives.  Afterall, we can’t just bank on the “Hail Mary” pass to achieve growth.”

What line is your organization on?

As Summer Heats Up, Airline Brands are Taking Heat from Customers

The spring buds had barely broken into leaf when United Airlines (UA) set into motion what is becoming a summer of brand destroying idiocies. The airline industry, not always praised for their customer centric approach to operations management, decided moving a few of their employees to another location was more important than several passengers who had paid for their passage and were boarded and preparing for departure. The flight was scheduled to depart O’Hare International Airport in Chicago for Louisville, Ky., at 5:40 p.m. but hundreds of other passengers were delayed two hours while UA flight attendants and crew members summoned some strong arms of the private law and forcibly assaulted and dragged an offending passenger off the plane.

Later into the season an IT outage at British Airways (BA) caused thousands of flights to be cancelled impacting more than 75,000 customers travel plans. Glitches and Murphy’s Law has been known to throw an unintended wrench into even the most well-executed software program before, but BA’s poor communication and resulting response was so inept that many passengers have vowed to boycott the airline.

Carmen Courchesne, a 74-year-old passenger was supposed to be flying from Massachusetts to Florida with help from JetBlue’s (JB) wheelchair assistance program when something went wrong at Logan International Airport. The grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was left unattended at a gate in Boston for several hours before her family, who were waiting at the airport in Florida, became concerned and sought her whereabouts. Turned out many hours later she was still sitting, abandoned and unattended at Logan Airport.

These and numerous other industry-actors customer relations missteps has made the summer of 2017 a time of mind-blowing, brand busting odyssey. And if the actual incidences where not sufficient enough to anger and alienate their customers and severely injure their brand’s value, the reaction from the airlines employees and management in response to the problems left nothing on the table to cast doubt on where these airlines position their customers in their operations hierarchy. Initially, UA responded to their passenger assault by attempting to explain why overbooking flights and reallocating human resources topped passenger service when it came to the company’s bottom line. BA’s response gave a; so what, these things happen, we’ll do better next time public impression. JB’s seaming flippant response to botching their passengers with disability customer service did very little to appease the concerns for the family of the disabled grandmother, much less add value to the company’s brand or reputation.

Customers have long been told that they’re never wrong, that customer sovereignty trumps all things when it comes to making connections with a responsible marketer, even when a consumers behavior spills out of the envelop of common decency. In reality, “Customers are not always right, but they are always the customer”.

Is it possible that the answer to theses errant reactions lies at the foot of another business management mantra, “What gets measured gets done”? In today’s high-tech, data harvesting, benchmarking, number crunching world, it is becoming clear to airline consumers that airline employees’ performance evaluation matrix does not include so much of a bullet when it comes to the art and science of customer centricity. Either that, or a whole lot of company associates failed to get the memo.

Regardless of the specific reasons, the summer of the “War on the passengers” is an indication of a systematic problem, perpetuated and promoted by those at the very top of the corporate labor chain. Expectations and examples all start at the top and at the top of every subsequent management level. It then matriculates down to where the end user meets with the company’s product or service. And while no associate can completely be held accountable for the poor and despicable actions of a few consumers, each of us who make our life’s work from connecting with consumers must put the misbehavior in perspective and context of the whole of the experience. A company’s brand value and each of our personal values are ultimately on the line and on display for all to see.

Forming a Start-up & Compelling Exit Strategy at the Same Time

At first consideration it seems to be counter intuitive. Formulating a plan to exit a new start-up business before the start-up of the new business? For the true entrepreneur, the experience of a new start-up is exciting, exhilarating and even intoxicating. For most, it’s what they do, who they are and is much more a result of DNA than MBA. Why, at a time when the focus is on planning the complexities of development and launch, should we consider a strategy for selling out or diluting our future participation? Why should we spend time and effort now on the end game?

A failure to see it coming. – Making assumptions about future unknowns is a common element of planning and forecasting. A well-developed and implemented business strategy is a key to determining success or failure of even the most modest of visions. In the event that original assumptions fail to generate the anticipated outcome, the process of getting out and successfully surviving for another opportunity will be measured by a predetermined plan that includes a contingency for exiting the situation. An effective exit strategy should be planned for every positive and negative contingency.

Making a transition. – The operational skill sets required to initiate and launch a new venture is markedly different than those required to successfully guide and maintain a business through subsequent stages in the businesses life-cycle. Entrepreneurs love the experience of the start. But the job requirements of management change overtime.  Attracting talent or investors with specific skills and experience needed to move the operation into the next segment is critical to making a successful transition to the next stage in the cycle. Often it will be necessary for the dreamer, the creator or the artist to give-up all or part of their responsibilities or participation in day-to-day management in order to attract the new talent. Preplanning for this inevitability can assure a more successful, efficient and timely transition for the venture.

Where are you going anyway? – A map without a destination is not a plan for a successful journey. It’s a plan to wander around.  A business which is wandering around in a competitive and dynamic business environment is likely to arrive at failure, not success. A transition that involves selling to new investors through an IPO, selling to existing employees or stakeholders, preserving the organization as a family heirloom or taking an IPO path requires various routes to achievement, each unique but each requiring decisions to be made from the outset of the new start up. For emerging businesses it is important to link the marketing strategy and the exit strategy in one cohesive plan.

Alignment of business strategy is critical to investors. Aligning the exit plan with the overall business development plan is significant because the choice of exit plan can influence business development choices from the outset. The desirability of each choice is dependent on the initial form of ownership, the original intent of the business, market conditions and company performance. The exit strategy is also very important to investors.  “An exit strategy isn’t just relevant, it’s essential. One of the biggest worries of angel investors is ending up with a minority share in a company that doesn’t want to exit. In that scenario you can end up with your money stuck forever as stock that will never be traded, never be liquid, and therefore will never be a return on investment,” said Tim Barry, Founder of Palo Alto Software.  “What you want is as much evidence as possible that you understand the importance of the exit, the factors that make the exit more or less likely, and the vital link between the exit and the investors’ making a return on their money.”

The answer can be quite simple. The exit is, in reality, the goal. Aligning an exit strategy cohesively with an overall business and marketing strategy is critical to achieving the ultimate objective. The very best reason for an exit strategy “is to plan how to optimize a good situation, rather than get out of a bad one.” An exit strategy allows a startup to focus efforts on things that make it more appealing and compelling to future acquisition.

“When working with start-up companies on business plans and growth strategies, we always start by asking what the business looks like today; what the goal is for the business in 3 years; and what is the exit strategy,” comments Julie Gareleck, Junction Creative. “Our clients always seemed surprised that we ask about the exit at the beginning.  We’ve successfully navigating our clients from Start Up to Exit – and achieved the very goals and objectives we set at the very beginning.”

As entrepreneurs, it’s ok to love the process and relish in the rise of success. However, never lose sight of the exit.

To learn more about Junction’s success stories, contact Julie@junction-creative.com!